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January 31, 1998: The ArchDean Announces IOU T-Shirts!

The ArchDean of Illuminati University announced today the release of IOU T-shirts (proceeds will go to purchase more furniture for the Faculty Lounge. FNORD). These shirts are available now from Pegasus Publishing. These are the same people who brought you the Eye in the Pyramid shirts, which are still available from our catalog.

They also have some Eye in the Pyramid logo hats and will soon have In Nomine t-shirts. As well, the In Nomine jewelry is still available. Pieces include Angelic and Infernal crosses (in pendants and keyrings) and most Choir logos (not only the Malakim as some had thought due to a previous post).

Keep your eye out for more products as we continue in our effort to make you the best-dressed gamers on Earth (or Planet Krishna, we're not picky). -- Micah Jackson



January 30, 1998: The First International Virtual Conference on Mad Science

Illuminated Site of the Week: In the organizers' own words: "IVCMS provides an international forum for the presentation, discussion and extension of research into these darkly powerful pseudosciences and dangerous technologies which fall beyond the scope of conventional science and good taste.

"The purpose of the conference is to promote a general understanding of mad topics within the broader scientific community, to encourage new researchers to dabble with things best left alone, to attract commercial sponsors to the potential benefits of mad science in the business world, and to replace the old drooling maniac stereotype of the mad scientist with a new drooling maniac image which is more appropriate to the modern era. "


January 29, 1998: Job Openings at SJ Games

It was one of those weeks. For personal reasons, two of our staff are moving out of town within the next few weeks, and we also need a new computer-maintenance contractor. Aieee. We have openings.

(1) Direct Mail. Melinda de la Torre has been single-handedly responsible for keeping a lot of customers happy. Now we have to find a way to fill her shoes. This is a full-time job requiring both computer skills and people skills. Take the order, process it for shipping, make sure the customer is satisfied. Plus a LOT of extraneous and random "other duties as assigned." Resumes should go to brendah@io.com.

(2) Assistant to the President and Head MIB. Laz Zanger got here and redefined the job, and now he has to go. Aieee. Basically, this is half "executive assistant" and half "convention liaison." Requires both executive-assistant skills (this is a real business, and without a good assistant I'm crippled) and knowledge of gaming and fandom. Resumes should go to me - sj@io.com.

(3) Computer Guru. Not a staff position, and not full-time; we need to contract for 10 to 20 hours a week of skilled mostly-Macintosh troubleshooting in our offices. Resumes should go to kellyrs@io.com.
-- Steve Jackson


January 28, 1998: AADA Tournament Rules

George Smith (our Car Wars online editor) has htmlized the AADA Tournament Rules for us. This includes the rules and regulations for AADA-sanctioned tournaments printed in Autoduel Quarterly Volume 9 Number 1, plus the recent variations instituted during the 1997 World Championships.

January 27, 1998: CoDominium for GURPS

For you Jerry Pournelle fans, Glenn Patton has written a brief interpretation of Pournelle's CoDominium universe in GURPS terms, and a CoDominium bibliography.
-- Steve Jackson


January 26, 1998: Mike Stackpole Interview

Ken Hite wrote a nice interview with Mike Stackpole in this week's "Out of the Box" column on the Mania site. Mike gives us his predictions for the future of the gaming industry.
-- Woody Eblom


January 25, 1998: Back from the Printer!

We got the advance copies of two new releases from the printer this week . . .

GURPS Bio-Tech is a sourcebook for all kinds of biomechanical modifications for characters, NPCs, and even monsters -- and with the stuff in this book, it will be harder and harder to tell the difference! Gene splicing, smart drugs, nanotechnology, transplants, cloning, cryonics -- GURPS Bio-Tech covers the medical breakthroughs of the next century, some of which are happening today!

Also back from the printer is Pyramid #28, featuring a GURPS Black Ops adventure, a Paranoia - Call of Cthulhu crossover and tons more.

We'll get the main shipments of these items Monday, and they'll go out right away. Look for them on your store shelves in early February.
-- Scott Haring


January 24, 1998: Don't Touch That Mouse, Citizen!

"The Call of Computer", the Paranoia/Call of Cthulhu crossover adventure featured in Pyramid #28 has a support page, written by the author, Joshua Marquart. The URL to the page is http://w3.one.net/~joshdm/paracoc.html and features some strange pictures, a history of the adventure's creation, tips from people who have run the adventure, and supplementary "add ons" to extend the adventure.

-- Micah Jackson



January 23, 1998: Holy World Domination, Batman!

Illuminated Site of the Week: Yes, the world would have fallen into evil hands dozens of times if not for the Caped Crusader, and when we make OUR move, we'll have to deal with him. Visit this site for the most up-to-date info about Batman Classic.

-Submitted by Max Minkoff (mminkoff@juno.com)
-- Steve Jackson


January 22, 1998: Metaverse Progress Report

We're coming along with work on the new GURPS-ized Metaverse. It won't be too long before we announce an alpha-test game; stay tuned.

Pyramid fans will recognize the proprietor of one of the weapon shops. It's your ultra-violent buddy Bruno. "You should not be messink vith Bruno. Just buy der veapon and go bug somevun else."
-- Steve Jackson


January 21, 1998: Welcome, Jack!

Jack Elmy joins our merry band this week as a production artist and game editor. Jack has worked all over the place, from Canada to Puerto Rico to Costa Rica, on newspapers and magazines of all sorts. Jack's first editing job will be GURPS Wizards, and there will be plenty more where that came from . . .
-- Scott Haring


January 20, 1998: Game Night Part 2 - Survival of the Witless

We finished off our Friday night game session with Survival of the Witless, from Avalanche Games. This is a really brutal, politically incorrect, hilarious satire of academic politics. The players are all university professors, competing to win tenure. Publish or perish! But also, kiss ass or perish . . .

While this is basically a card game with score sheets, there's a lot of roleplaying. At the beginning of the game, every player draws cards to see if his character is male or female, straight or gay, Hopelessly White or Desperately Minority, and Working Class / Upper Class / Hereditary Academic. The professors on the tenure committee, each with his own prejudices, will treat different candidates in different ways. And some cards can be played only by women, or only by minorities . . . This is a Very Nasty Game that pulls no punches. We had a great time.

Most of the fun comes from card-reading and roleplaying. While some strategy is possible, most of the decisions are "Do I play this bad card on the person it will hurt the most, or on the one who is most in the lead?" and "Do I use up my "Writing" cards on articles quickly before they can be stolen, or save up for a book?" And the rules as written take most of the Writing cards out of play, which can leave some players with NO chance to win; we decided that when you complete a book, all ten of those Writing cards go into the discard stack for recycling.

So a bit more testing would have helped. Still, WAY fun. If you have friends in academia, who don't take their lives too seriously, spring this one on them.

I didn't name the designer above, because no designer is credited! This suggests to me that the guilty party is in fact a resident of academia who knows that anonymous satire is the safest kind. Works for me . . .
-- Steve Jackson


January 19, 1998: Game Night: Pit, and Give Me The Brain

Every once in a while, we actually get to sit down and PLAY things. Last Friday night, for instance.

We started off with Pit, which is an old classic that I had never, ever played. Great fun. There are no turns, and a round lasts for about two minutes of everyone yelling at each other. No table talk in this game! The only drawback is that the cards change hands so much and so quickly that a deck wears out really fast. Hmm . . . perhaps from the publisher's point of view that's a feature. Anyway, we'll be playing that one again, for sure.

Then we played a hand of James Earnest's Give Me The Brain, from Cheapass Games.. In this game, everyone is a zombie, working at a fast food place, and while most of your jobs require no brains, a few do . . . and you all have only one brain between you . . . Simple play, but it works just fine. A lot of the fun is reading the cards, especially the illustrated ones. The hilarious, disgusting art is by Brian Snoddy, and Austin MIB cell leader Liz Zanger owns all the originals and will no doubt support herself in luxury for decades by reselling them one at a times.

Then we tried Survival of the Witless, but I'll make you wait till tomorrow for that report.
-- Steve Jackson


January 18, 1998: OwlCon in Houston

I'll be returning to my old alma mater, Rice University, for OwlCon next weekend . . . Friday the 23rd through Sunday the 25th. I could sure use a few more Men in Black (of any sex and clothing preference) to help me run our table. Demo games, sell stuff, take over the world, the usual. Bribes are negotiable.

If you are in or around Houston and want to talk about this, either for one day or for more of the con, send e-mail directly to me - sj@io.com.
-- Steve Jackson


January 17, 1998: SJ Games' Top Ten of 1997

Here are our top ten sellers for the year just ended:
  1. In Nomine (regular softback edition)
  2. Knightmare Chess
  3. GURPS Basic Set
  4. In Nomine (hardback edition)
  5. GURPS Warehouse 23
  6. GURPS Compendium II
  7. GURPS Compendium I
  8. GURPS Mecha
  9. GURPS Ultra-Tech 2
  10. GURPS Black Ops

Congratulations to David Pulver, who had two books in the top ten (and his GURPS Reign of Steel was 11th). Likewise to S, John Ross for GURPS Warehouse 23 and a big chunk of GURPS Black Ops. And a big pat on the back to the In Nomine team.


January 16, 1998: Backwards!

Illuminated Site of the Week: So when you play a record backwards, you hear the Devil. And when you look at a web page backwards, you get . . . Never mind. There are people in Oklahoma who would get very worried if we kept going. This site has nothing to do with That Guy Down Below. As far as we know, that is. It just loads URLs backwards, pictures and all!

- Submitted by Jayson Howell (jayson_howell@stream.com)
-- Steve Jackson


January 15, 1998: GURPS Russia to Printer!

Like the headline says, we sent GURPS Russia to the printer. It's a cool book that covers medieval Russia through the reign of Peter the Great in 1725, with cossacks and wolves on the frozen plains and all that stuff. You'll like it.

GURPS Russia is also a bit of a departure for us -- a book that will only be available direct from us, either from our Direct Mail department or at conventions. This isn't a harbinger of doom for distributors and retailers or anything -- we just thought that a more esoteric title like Russia needed this special treatment.

GURPS Russia is a fantastic book, probably S. John Ross' best work for us yet. In particular, its discussion of fantasy Russia has great gaming potential. But we have found out the hard way that "historical" titles don't sell well in stores. Still, we really like this book . . . so we're printing 2,000 copies, and they will only be available directly from SJ Games. You can reach our Web catalog at http://www.sjgames.com/catalog/. If this goes well, maybe we'll publish other "straight-to-you" titles . . . books that won't work in standard distribution (we're thinking of adventures, for instance) but are too good to ignore. We'll see.



January 14, 1998: Weight of Human Heads

So one of our projects GURPS being reality-checked in all things, you know requires that we determine the weight of a severed human head. It certainly is nice to have a large and cosmopolitan Online Brain Trust. I got good-enough-for-jazz responses immediately, and the authoritative word, from one who shall remain nameless, shortly thereafter:

"According to my forensic anthropologist, the common assumption for biomechanics simulations is 8-11 lbs., depending on age (8 for a child, 11 for an adult)."

So now I know. And now you know too. And no, don't ask which project involves tossing heads around. All will become clear soon.
-- Steve Jackson


January 13, 1998: Warehouse Forever

Warehouse 23 skulks into 1998 with over 2,700 entries. One of the most Illuminated to appear recently is this, from George Arteaga:

A government packet documenting the discovery of various examples of falsified data. All of the documentation has been falsified.
-- Steve Jackson


January 12, 1998: Calling all Malakim!

Have you ever been in real trouble? You know, backed into an alley with the Calabim of Fire about to come around the corner any second now. They wouldn't do that if they knew you were a Malakite! Be sure that your next vessel wears his Angelic Choir Pin. All choirs are available except for the Mecurians (don't worry, they're coming). The designs are the same as those in the expanded Choir descriptions in the Angelic Players' Guide. Now in stock are the In Nomine crosses and Steve Jackson Games' own logo, the Eye in the Pyramid.
-- Micah Jackson


January 11, 1998: A Bulletproof Rolls?

The world of Car Wars draws ever closer. This year's Los Angeles Auto Show featured an announcement by O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt Armoring Company, which builds the armored limos used by U.S. presidents, that it will be selling bulletproof cars through Rolls-Royce dealer showrooms. Rolls-Royce and the armoring company have signed a 15-year contract to develop production models capable of resisting fire from heavy handguns.

January 10, 1998: Ursuppe Update

Steffan O'Sullivan advises: "If you want a copy of the German game Ursuppe, try either Boulder Games (where I bought mine - boulderg@aol.com - mention my name), or Wargames West, or Games People Play in Cambridge, MA - the phone number to this, and other stores, can be found at: http://www.gamecabinet.com/info/GameShops.html. Copies bought in Germany may not have the English cards, rules, and players' aids - be warned."

January 9, 1998: Monty Python Online

Illuminated Site of the Week: (Cue theme music) It's the Monty Python scheme to take over the world, you festering gob of hamster vomit! (Okay, well, no offense meant.)

- Submitted by Seth Cohen (sacohen@umabnet.ab.umd.edu)....


January 8, 1998: Librum, Libram, Liber -- What's in a Name?

Plenty, if you paid attention in Latin class in high school (or maybe college). The title of our soon-to-be-released In Nomine supplement about relics was going to be Librum Reliquarium.

Then somebody asked about the translation, and everybody got out their dusty Latin textbooks (like there are any other kind . . .), and the debate began.

The consensus seems to be that we got it wrong, slightly. Of course, in Latin, slightly is all it takes to screw up the meaning. So in the name of Latin correctness, we're changing the name of the book to Liber Reliquarum, which is closer to "The Book of Relics" than the original.

This change shouldn't affect the ship date or much of anything else about the book, but we thought you'd like to know. It's also an interesting example of the sorts of things we think about around here to bring you the very best in gaming products . . .
-- Scott Haring

Meanwhile, back in Cossackville . . .

Problem solved. Thanks to everyone who wrote. We ended up going in another direction entirely . . .

January 7, 1998: Wanted: Cossacks

Darn it. I really wanted a picture of charging Cossacks, their sabers flashing, for the cover of GURPS Russia. But due to events which we will NOT go into here, no such picture was found or commissioned and it's time for the book to go to press. NOW. Aieeeeeee.

So . . . time to ask the Illuminated brain-trust for help again. Is anyone aware of a good period, public-domain or clip-art line drawing of such a scene? You would be amazed what the computer art wizards can do with the right B&W picture but we have to have something to start with.
-- Steve Jackson


January 6, 1998: Kerry Thornley

is widely known, among those who know such things, as one of the creators of Discordianism. He was one of the chief architects of the Principia Discordia.

While SJ Games publishes an edition of the Principia, this is NOT a plug for our book (note lack of link . . . ). Here's what's going on. We have it on fairly reliable authority (the net being what it is, and he himself being a rather private sort of person) that Kerry Thornley is seriously ill.

This would be a very good time, if you enjoy the Principia, to order a copy of Thornley's own edition, published by his own "IllumiNet Press." Purple-and-gold cover, very pretty, with some material not found in other editions. It's $10 from PO Box 5381, Atlanta GA 31107. Again, this is a good time to send some support, and some good thoughts, his way.

Here's his own website. Here's one for his book Zenarchy. And here's IllumiNet Press. Finally, here's a web page dedicated to Thornley, created by one of his friends.
Steve Jackson


January 5, 1998: Back from the Holidays

Okay, we're back. The SJ Games office always takes a long holiday vacation from Christmas to New Year's. Time to put the old nose back on the grindstone, err, I mean, hey, now we get to have some more of that wonderful game-producing fun.

New Year's resolutions? Well, the first one has to be KEEP TO THE SCHEDULE. I don't think we need a second one.

New Year's predictions? (gazes deeply into crystal ball) I predict . . . an interesting year for the whole hobby. Fasten your seat belts; the ride may be bumpy.
-- Steve Jackson


January 4, 1998: GURPS Web Ring!

GURPS fan extraordinaire Brett Slocum has made some big changes to his GURPS Web Page, including a new Web Ring of related sites all over the internet. Check it out. -- Scott Haring

January 3, 1998: German GURPS and Other Goodies

The German publishers of GURPS, Pegasus Games, have just sent us their two newest books . . . translations of GURPS Time Travel and GURPS Voodoo. They're the centerpieces of a stack of German-language gaming material which is now in the auction. Pegasus has been very prolific for the last few years . . . German GURPS players now have a wide selection to choose from. This pleases the Secret Masters . . .
-- Steve Jackson


January 2, 1998: Cubic Truth Is Ineffable

Illuminated Site of the Week: NATURE'S HARMONIC SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE! You just thought the day had 24 hours. Now we all know better. Gene Ray, Cubic, says "I will give $1,000.00 to any person who can disprove 4 days in each earth rotation."

- Submitted by Stefan Jones


January 1, 1998: Happy New Year!

It's 1998.

One year closer to the millennium, ushering in either a) a new era of prosperity, wisdom and peace; b) chaotic upheaval and strife; c) more of the same. Keep watching those signs from the Secret Masters . . .

And Happy New Year.
-- Scott Haring


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